The race to get to the moon first is no big secret. The two super powers of that time invested a lot of time and effort into it. However, today, we are working to improve the data collection from visiting moon and to make it less risky. The best possible solution is to make use of robotics. This is where the Ape Robot comes in. The Ape robot has been designed to work as a Moon explorer and enjoys certain advantages which will be discussed later in the article.
The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (German: Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz, DFKI) and the University of Bremen established the project. DFKI is one of the world’s largest research institutes and was founded in 1998. Currently, 413 highly qualified researchers and 272 graduate students are contributing to more than 232 DFKI research projects.
The walking robot has certain benefits over a wheeled robot which is the reason behind the ape-like shape of the moon explorer instead of a wheeled robot. At first; it is stable when climbing over obstacles or hilly terrain. Then, it is also capable of restoring itself to a stable position if it falls. However, an ape-like body has some disadvantages as well; it would be slower on a smooth terrain and also the wheeled vehicle would carry more cargo than the legged robot.
The ape-like robot called the iStruct Demonstrator is equipped with remarkable number of sensors, comprising 43 individual force-sensing resistor (FSR) sensors, six additional FSR sensors on exposed parts used for collision detection, a 6-axis Force/Torque-sensor, a distance sensor in heel to anticipate heel strike, a digital 3-axis accelerometer to perceive the orientation of the foot, two temperature sensors to compensate for temperature changes in the electronics, digital magnetic angular encoders to monitor every moving axes of the foot and ankle structure.
A stimulated spinal column will trade the solid connection between the upper and lower body of the robot to increase its mobility. The mechanism is called 6-DoF parallel kinematic mechanism. The iStruct Demonstrator can function as a 6-axes force-torque sensor on account of the implanted electronic in its spine.